Connex South Central
319013 at Clapham Junction.JPG
Franchise(s)South Central
26 May 1996 – 25 August 2001
Main region(s)South
Other region(s)London, South East
Parent companyConnex
Reporting markCX
PredecessorNetwork SouthCentral

Connex South Central[1] was a train operating company in the United Kingdom owned by Connex that operated the South Central franchise from 26 May 1996 until 25 August 2001.


On 26 May 1996, Connex commenced operating the Network SouthCentral franchise.[2][3] Later on 13 October 1996 Connex rebranded the franchise Connex South Central and introduced a white, yellow and blue livery.[4]

The operator was criticised for poor customer service (on average one in five Connex trains was delayed)[5] and for using old slam-door trains, rather than spend any money on buying modern sliding-door rolling stock built to higher safety standards (though Connex ordered new trains for Connex South Eastern). This widespread disgust at filthy trains and widespread delays caused criticism of Connex, but it was poor financial management that ultimately caused Connex to lose the franchise.[5]

In March 2000 the Strategic Rail Authority announced its intention to relet the franchise, with Connex and Govia the shortlisted bidders.[6][7]

On 24 October 2000 the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority announced that Govia had been awarded the franchise and would operate it from 2003.[5] Govia negotiated a deal with Connex to buy out the remainder of its franchise with the transaction completed in August 2001.[8][9][10][11]


Connex South Central ran passenger services from London Charing Cross, London Bridge and London Victoria to Beckenham Junction, Epsom Downs, East Grinstead, Uckfield, Caterham, Tattenham Corner, Horsham, Littlehampton, Bognor Regis, Bournemouth, Portsmouth, Brighton, Eastbourne and Ore.

It also ran services between Hastings and Ashford, Brighton and Hastings, Brighton, Newhaven Marine and Seaford and Brighton and Southampton as well as South London suburban services serving Crystal Palace, Sutton and West Croydon.

Services between West Croydon and Wimbledon, which were operated by Connex South Central following privatisation, ceased in 1997. The line was subsequently converted for Tramlink operation.[12]

On 2 June 1997 Connex South Central introduced a new service from Gatwick Airport to Rugby via the West London and West Coast lines using Class 319s.[13] In December 2000 it was curtailed to Watford Junction but extended southwards to Brighton.[14]

Rolling stock

Connex South Central inherited a wide fleet of 'slam' and sliding door diesel electric and electric multiple units. The slam-door units were not replaced under Connex, but were all later withdrawn after South Central (later rebranded Southern) took over.

Connex South Central's fleet was maintained at Brighton Lovers Walk and Selhurst depots.

Class Image Type Number Carriages Built
205009 at London Victoria.jpg
DEMU 10 2 or 3 1957–1962
207202 at Hurst Green.jpg
DEMU 4 3 1962
Connex 319.JPG
EMU 20 4 1987–1988
1602 at Dover Priory.jpg
EMU 3 4 1956–1963
1410 at Clapham Junction.jpg
EMU 107 4 1964–1972
EMU 59 4 1967–1974
Smitham station - - 858858.jpg
EMU 46 4 1982–1985
Last Day for Wimbledon to West Croydon - - 795513.jpg
EMU 24 2 1990–1991


  1. ^ Companies House extract company # 3010919 Archived 13 August 2016 at the Wayback Machine New Southern Railway Limited formerly Connex South Central Limited formerly Network SouthCentral Limited
  2. ^ "GCEA confirmed as NSC winner" Rail Privatisation News issue 27 4 April 1996 page 4
  3. ^ "Network SouthCentral sold to French Group" The Railway Magazine issue 1142 June 1996 page 6
  4. ^ "A new brand and livery for Connex's Network SouthCentral fleet" Railway Magazine issue 289 9 October 1996 page 11
  5. ^ a b c "Connex loses rail franchise" Archived 25 February 2009 at the Wayback Machine BBC News 24 October 2000
  6. ^ South Central Franchise Archived 3 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine Shadow Strategic Rail Authority 10 October 2000
  7. ^ Six Companies Shortlisted for First Franchise Replacement Round Archived 16 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Shadow Strategic Rail Authority 14 March 2000
  8. ^ Acquisition of Connex South Central Limited by Govia Limited Go-Ahead Group 30 May 2001
  9. ^ Completion of Acquisition of South Central Franchise Go-Ahead Group 28 August 2001
  10. ^ "Govia Southern Central goes into business" The Railway Magazine issue 1206 October 2001 page 12
  11. ^ South Central Limited Annual Accounts 29 June 2002
  12. ^ "Croydon Tramlink". Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  13. ^ "Connex Makes a Rugby Connection" Rail Express issue 15 August 1997 page 7
  14. ^ Class 319 Archived 20 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Kent Rail
Preceded byNetwork SouthCentralAs part of British Rail Operator of South Central franchise 1996–2001 Succeeded bySouth Central